Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


no                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
were brought into contact with the Syrian branch of the
order, and Raymond, Count of Tripoli, in A.D.I 149, and
Conrad of Montferrat, titular King of Jerusalem in A.D.
1192, were among its more famous European victims*
In A.D. 1272 the life of Prince Edward, afterwards
Edward L of England, was attempted at Acre, but accord-
ing to tradition saved by his consort, who sucked the
wound.
The Initiation of the Devotees.—A graphic account of
the initiation of the/dfotf is given by Marco Polo, who,
writing shortly after the capture of Alamut by Hulagu
in A.D, 1252, says;l " The Old Man had caused a certain
valley between two mountains to be enclosed, and had
turned it into a garden, the largest and most beautiful
that ever was seen, filled with every variety of fruit
And there were runnels flowing with wine and milk and
honey and water ; and numbers of ladies and of the
most beautiful damsels in the world. For the Old Man
desired to make his people believe that this was actually
Paradise.
" Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden save
those whom he intended to be his ASIUSUIN. , . .
Then he would introduce them into his garden, some
four or six or ten at a time, having first made them drink
a certain«potion which cast them into a deep sleep, and
then causing them to be lifted and carried in. When
therefore they awoke and found themselves in a place so
charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in very truth.
... So when the Old Man would have any prince slain,
he would say to a youth : c Go thou and slay so and so ;
and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear thee into
Paradise.'"
The potion was composed of cannabis indica, or
hemp, known as hashish, and this is undoubtedly the
origin of the word " Assassin/' The fidais rarely survived
their victims, as they gloried in martyrdom and attempted'
to execute their mission in the most open and dramatic
manner. Indeed, so certain of happiness after death were
the followers of this sect that mothers wept if their sons
1 Yvle's Marco Polo, i. p. 139 (Cordier's edition).